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Get the latest facts on the new NY SAFE gun laws that effect you!

Legal for business to refuse $100 bills?


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21 replies to this topic

#1 Tonto

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Posted May 22 2010 - 11:35 AM

I'm just wondering if anyone knows the answer to this:

With all the counterfeit $100 bills going around...I've seen signs where stores will not take $100 bills.  Now I just went thru a Mc Donald's drive thru to pick a coffee drink for my wife & noticed they now have signs up that they will not take any bill larger than a $20.

Is this actually legal?  refusing to take US currency?  

Anyone know the answer?  Do I need to tell the bank when I cash my paycheck that I want only $20?

(It's not like I want to spend $1.99 & use a $50 or $100)
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#2 liseverewx

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Posted May 22 2010 - 11:46 AM

I've seen this as well on the McDonalds drive through line.  I too wondered about the legalities of this.  I thought all stores must accept any and all US currency.  
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#3 VolkoSupply

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Posted May 22 2010 - 11:56 AM

At a place like a McDonalds or someplace with a drop safe it may be that the counter people never have more than $50 in the drawer at a time, so they can't make change of a large bill.

We got stuck with a bad $100 the other day.  Annoying, especially when you go to deposit it at the bank.  The bank confiscates the bill, and it's sent to the secret service for validation.  In theory you find out if it was good or bad in two weeks.

I realize why they do it, so let's see what the treasury department comes up with as an answer.
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#4 The Architect

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Posted May 22 2010 - 12:00 PM

If someone refuses my $100, Ill be sure to return with 1,000 pennies!  :P

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Remember that disputes on LIF are accessible to everyone on the Internet. The way in which you conduct yourself on LIF reflects on LIF and on you. Personal attacks will never help you make a point; they hurt the community and deter users from helping create a good community. We understand frustrations surrounding the 'NYSAFE' law which took effect 'behind closed doors'. Rest assured LIF will be addressing this in the very near future.


#5 AkunaMatata

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Posted May 22 2010 - 12:01 PM

I'm pretty sure you can accept or refuse whatever you want as a business owner.
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#6 Doc T

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Posted May 22 2010 - 12:09 PM

I am not saying this is the law, but one night at a gas station I tried to pay with a $100 and the guy there refused it, I told him I had no other money and he runs inside screaming that he is calling the Cops.

Well, the Police came , the guy working there called the store owner, and the Police MADE him take the money.

Policy and Law are never the same. Half the leases in Suffolk contain illegalities, and signing them does not make it "legal". Ladies Night is illegal in New York State. We all know that law is hardly enforced. It is also illegal to be visibly drunk in a bar or for a bartender to serve you if he knows you are intoxicated. So basically, the law says that after about two hours at your sisters wedding, your are in violation and so is the bartender.

Like Stevie said, you can buy a car with a truckload of nickles, legally speaking. Its one of those laws that have LEO;s looking through manuals.
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#7 gmirsky

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Posted May 22 2010 - 12:11 PM

Going back to my 8 AM business law 101 & 102 class days with Eugene Maccarone at Hofstra circa 1981 that I got A's in both classes but I digress, a business can refuse payment before services or goods are rendered but cannot refuse a $100 as payment of a debt.

The clause "Good for all debts public and private" printed on the note make the note (it's not real constitutional money!) valid for the payments of all incurred debts. By refusing the $100 bill before the debt is incurred is legal. Refusing the $100 bill after a debt is incurred discharges the debtor of any obligation to pay the debt. So those of you who want to pay your taxes in pennies or nickels cannot do so but if you show up with $1 bills they must accept them otherwise they have discharged your debt.
Greg

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#8 LIRES1987

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Posted May 22 2010 - 12:29 PM

This is not uncommon. I have tried to pay with a $50 bill at my local Quiznos and they would not take it. Like McDonald's, they have a corporate policy of not taking anything larger then a $20 bill because they would have to open the safe and only certain employees have the keys. I also tried to use a $50 at my local Taco Bell and they took it only because I had no other cash, I think the fact that I am a frequent customer also played a role.

Now I use my debit card, solves the problem of carrying cash :)
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#9 Mosin1942

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Posted May 22 2010 - 01:02 PM

Like others have said, the reason is that the register doesn't have enough to break a larger bill - or break a larger bill and still make change for the next guy.
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#10 T.Webb

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Posted May 22 2010 - 04:01 PM

Mosin1942 said:

Like others have said, the reason is that the register doesn't have enough to break a larger bill - or break a larger bill and still make change for the next guy.

That's only one reason. The other reason is they're afraid of getting stuck with a counterfeit.

Neither is my problem. If I offer a legal note, I fully expect it to be accepted.


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#11 SigSauer228

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Posted May 22 2010 - 04:16 PM

In this day and age, this is a common practice so...the consumer should know better. An ATM machine only spits out $20 bills so there goes that excuse.

When I go to the bank, I make sure I they give me a few twenties.
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#12 AkunaMatata

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Posted May 22 2010 - 04:24 PM

I tihnk you guys are forgetting something: No business is required to deal with you at all whether you have legal notes or not.
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#13 Tonto

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Posted May 22 2010 - 04:43 PM

SigSauer228 said:

In this day and age, this is a common practice so...the consumer should know better. An ATM machine only spits out $20 bills so there goes that excuse.

When I go to the bank, I make sure I they give me a few twenties.

I don't use an ATM...don't need it, don't want to pay for it either.

And Mc Donalds USED to take larger bills...they just put the sign up this week.....note: it's a handmade sign.
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#14 Parashooter

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Posted May 22 2010 - 08:24 PM

7-11 has the 'no bills larger than $20' for years - but they have never refused a larger bill from me.

Also, the ONLY time I ever received a counterfeit bill - was a $20 - FROM COLUMBIA SAVINGS BANK!!!

Because of that, I will NOT take any large bills from any bank - I KNOW it was just a matter of the teller missed it coming in, and just passed it along ASAP to avoid getting in trouble, but I still got screwed for the $20, PLUS having to deal with police about it.

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#15 2edgesword

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Posted May 22 2010 - 08:33 PM

The Architect said:

If someone refuses my $100, Ill be sure to return with 1,000 pennies!  :P

Actually I think there have been court cases that have upheld a merchants practice NOT to accept thousands of pennies as payment. I'd guess the same case law would allow for an establishment not to accept $100 bills also.


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#16 hydtguy

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Posted May 22 2010 - 08:52 PM

LMAO   try to buy lunch in the Bronx with a 50 or 100 bill.. its a heck of a way to diet  ;)
FYI my kids a bank teller, she said they have been getting a lot of bad 20s, 50s and 100s. they even are starting to get bad 10s..

PS. She just took her mini medical for NYPD hopes to get in the summer class.  :)

#17 Mosin1942

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Posted May 22 2010 - 09:32 PM

T.Webb said:


That's only one reason. The other reason is they're afraid of getting stuck with a counterfeit.

Neither is my problem. If I offer a legal note, I fully expect it to be accepted.


Well, it is your problem since any place of business has the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason. "The customer is always right" is NOT the law, it's just a common policy of curteousy extended to customers from business owners. If someone came into your house and demanded you to do something that you didn't want to do, then proclaimed "But you have to, I'm the guest and you're the host!", how would you feel?
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#18 Tonto

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Posted May 22 2010 - 09:45 PM

The question wasn't about refusing service...it was about them refusing to take legal tender...$100's & $50's
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#19 Mosin1942

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Posted May 22 2010 - 10:07 PM

Tonto said:

The question wasn't about refusing service...it was about them refusing to take legal tender...$100's & $50's

Which would be their right of refusing service, their reason being that they will not accept any bills larger than $20. They aren't refusing to accept legal US currency, they are choosing not to accept certain denominations of legal US currency. Refusing legal US currency would be if something cost $5 and they refused to accept a $5 bill, instead demanding that you pay in Euros, Pesos, Yen...
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#20 Tonto

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Posted May 22 2010 - 10:20 PM

Ok...I just found this on the US Treasury site:

Question I thought that United States currency was legal tender for all debts. Some businesses or governmental agencies say that they will only accept checks, money orders or credit cards as payment, and others will only accept currency notes in denominations of $20 or smaller. Isn't this illegal?

Answer
The pertinent portion of law that applies to your question is the Coinage Act of 1965, specifically Section 31 U.S.C. 5103, entitled "Legal tender," which states: "United States coins and currency (including Federal reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal reserve banks and national banks) are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues."

This statute means that all United States money as identified above are a valid and legal offer of payment for debts when tendered to a creditor. There is, however, no Federal statute mandating that a private business, a person or an organization must accept currency or coins as for payment for goods and/or services. Private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether or not to accept cash unless there is a State law which says otherwise. For example, a bus line may prohibit payment of fares in pennies or dollar bills. In addition, movie theaters, convenience stores and gas stations may refuse to accept large denomination currency (usually notes above $20) as a matter of policy.

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